Well, that was unfortunate. A rainy night in the Bronx ended in defeat (on an overturned call, no less) as the Yankees dropped Tuesday’s game 5-4. You can’t win them all, but an annoying loss is annoying.
Anyway, here at Views from 314ft we’re going to approach game recaps a bit differently. After each game, we’ll provide takeaways to dive a little deeper into the pivotal matchups, key moments, and overall trends on display each night.
1. Masahiro Tanaka Always Grinds: Yikes was that a bad start to the game. A rare error by LeMaheiu was followed by a single from Franmil Reyes, who scored on a single by Manny Machado. Eric Hosmer promptly deposited an 88mph Tanaka sinker (he only threw 12 all night, a sign that he still doesn’t have a great feel for the pitch) left over the middle of the plate to center. Before recording an out, the Yanks were down 4-0. Not great! Take a look at this location:
Some of that first inning was unlucky for Tanaka, but there’s nothing unlucky about that pitch: over-the-plate, no bite, and basically begging to be crushed. Hosmer didn’t miss it, to his credit, but yikes.
Tanaka been tagged for 4 runs and threw 30 pitches, which is the last thing the Yankees needed. The bullpen is taxed—Britton, Kahnle and Chapman have each pitched 7 times in the last 13 days and Ottavino 6 times—and really need some blowouts, length from their starters, or, preferably, both.
But to Tanaka’s credit, he settled in and only allowed 1 run across the next five innings, needing only 70 pitches to do so. The first inning was a disaster, but Tanaka settled in, gave a little length, and gave the Yanks a shot. His final line: 6 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 7 Ks and 2 walks. Not bad considering the start.
2. Gary Sanchez is a Machine: That’s now 17 home runs for The Kraken, who is well on his way to reminding skeptical fans and opposing teams why the Yanks always stuck by him last year during his struggles. I mean, take a look at this:
Just beautiful, really. Beautiful. Anyway, Gary has now hit 5 home runs in his last 8 games and is hitting a home run every 8 at-bats, leading the league. That’ll do! As Friend of the Blog Katie Sharp noted, few players hit the ball harder than Gary:
That Gary, he sure is scary.
3. DJ LeMahieu Continues to Impress: DJLM came into tonight hitting .316/.364/.409 (113 wRC+), and has been one of the most steadily productive players in the Yanks lineup (not to mention his defense, error tonight notwithstanding). He added a one-out single in the bottom of the 7th to score Kendrys Morales and Thairo Estrada, tightening a 5-1 deficit to 5-3. Again, as Katie Sharp noted, LeMahieu has consistently hit with runners in scoring position this year:
A whole lot of Yankee fans are eating crow about DJLM right about now, I think, though I’m sure everyone is happy to have been wrong.
4. Clint Frazier’s Outfield Defense is a Problem: Jeez, what is going on with Clint Frazier’s outfield defense? I love the dude, I do, but this is getting to the point where it’s untenable. He misplayed another ball in right tonight, diving when he had no chance, and let the ball roll behind him to the wall in the top of the 8th tonight. Frazier came into tonight dead last in baseball in the “Outs Above Average” Statcast category, sporting a -10. That’s 229th out of 229, and nobody else is really close. A lot of this might come with moving to RF from LF—remember, we’ve seen Gardner struggle making this move, and Gardner’s a better defender than Clint—but still, something’s gotta give here. Get well soon, Aaron and Giancarlo (both of whom are better defenders than they’re ever given credit).
5. Bullpen Management: The above note about the bullpen being taxed is surely the reason here, but gosh, doesn’t it feel like Aaron Boone never uses his big guys in tie games or when the Yanks are down by a run or two? I’ll have to do some actual research on this (imagine that!) to draw any conclusions, but that is certainly how it feels. Again, tonight’s excusable given the recent workload and upcoming schedule, but still. Joe Harvey didn’t look good in the 8th, after the Yanks closed the gap to 1 run, and Boone didn’t get anyone loose in the bullpen until the bases were loaded. Cessa came in right away and got out of the jam, so no harm no foul. Just an observation, and perhaps not a fair one.
6. The Yankees Never Quit: Finally, these Yanks just never, ever quit. Down 5-1 as the skies opened up late in the game, with a day game tomorrow no less, you’d almost forgive the Yanks for mailing the rest of the game in. But they didn’t, and they never do. They brought the tying run up to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and managed to close the gap to one and had the winning run up to bat in the 9th before DJLM’s double play. That’s twice now in the last three days that the Yanks have mounted a comeback to fall just short, but what’s important here is that they’re never out of a game. Fightin’ Spirit, or something.
Anyway, the Yanks and Padres will match up tomorrow afternoon to conclude this three-game set. James Paxton (!) will take the mound against Chris Paddack in the Bronx tomorrow at 1:05 in a game you probably won’t want to miss if you can help it. It’ll be nice to see Paxton back, and Paddack is electric. It should be a fun one.